Catherine Blakespear has had a change of heart and is now actively opposed to the rail trail project in its current form. In addition to the recent train horn mitigation issues at the related Montgomery crossing and concerns about staggered project completion dates (which we've noted), Catherine had a negative reaction to the SANDAG trail renderings she saw recently at an update meeting. She's now quite worried that the current design will have a bigger impact than expected on the scenic areas in the south part of the trail route (from Verdi to Birmingham). She's also increasingly unhappy with the level of public involvement in the process.
During the City Council meeting on March 16, Catherine requested that the rail trail alignment be added back to the agenda for discussion and a vote at a future meeting. She also hinted at the formation of a community work-group to discuss projects in the Cardiff rail corridor.
We are disappointed that Catherine felt she had to change her position on the trail. While we knew there were mounting problems with the combined trail and crossing projects, we wanted the City Council, SANDAG, and NCTD to work together to address the issues. In her recent letter about reconsidering the trail project (linked below), Catherine indicated that she tried to work within the current process but didn't see the path forward.
We hope that the upcoming Council discussion is the first step in a process to get a new and better plan. A large part of our community still very much wants an accessible trail east of the tracks and a safe and legal railroad crossing at Montgomery. However, we do need a clear and credible plan for uninterrupted coastal access as part of any project or combined projects.
We'll keep you posted as we learn more. Here's the link to Catherine's letter: